MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday (Mar 3) he believed some foreign leaders were preparing for war against Russia and that Moscow would press on with its military operation in Ukraine until “the end”.
Lavrov also said Russia had no thoughts of nuclear war.
The Russian military operation against Ukraine is aimed, among other things, at ensuring that Kyiv does not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Lavrov told Russian state television.
Offering no evidence to back up his remarks in an interview with state television, a week after Russian invaded Ukraine, he also accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, an ethnic Jew, of presiding over “a society where Nazism is flourishing”.
He said he had no doubt that a solution to the crisis in Ukraine would be found and a new round of talks were about to start between Ukrainian and Russian officials.
But he said Russia’s dialogue with the West must be based on mutual respect, accused NATO of seeking to maintain supremacy and said that while Russia had a lot of goodwill, it could not let anyone undermine its interests.
Moscow would not let Ukraine keep infrastructure that threatened Russia, he said.
Moscow could also not tolerate what he said was a military threat from Ukraine, he said, adding that he was convinced that Russia was right over Ukraine.
“The thought of nuclear is constantly spinning in the heads of Western politicians but not in the heads of Russians,” he said. “I assure you that we will not allow any kind of provocation to unbalance us.”
Russia did not feel politically isolated, and the question of how Ukraine lives should be defined by its people, he said.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of hitting civilian areas but Lavrov said Russian troops had strict orders to use high-precision weapons to destroy military infrastructure.
Lavrov said Russian forces were attacking military targets in Ukraine but added that the term “collateral damage” has been in use since the Western campaigns in Iraq and Libya.
Offering no evidence, Lavrov said Russia had information that the United States was worried about the prospect of losing control over what he described as chemical and biological laboratories in Ukraine and accused Britain of building military bases there.